“In 2008 he became Vancouver’s 44th mayor, sweeping in a Vision Vancouver council very much with a “build it and they will come” socialist agenda trimmed heavily in green. Now he’s aiming for re-election, wanting to continue Vision’s vision for a utopian society where homelessness is vanquished, everyone can afford a home with a commuter bicycle in the yard, and green businesses supplant carbon-producing ones.”
Vancouver Sun reporter Jeff Lee
Who needs Fox News North when we already have the Vancouver Sun and its civic ‘reporter’ Jeff Lee, author of the quote above?
The quote appeared in Lee’s profile of Mayor Gregor Robertson and to my mind pretty much followed the NPA message on Robertson.
So time to get real. Come on Jeff, Vision Vancouver a party with a socialist agenda? And socialism is now defined as a political philosophy opposed to homelessness, unaffordable housing and unnecessary greenhouse gases? If that’s the case let’s all welcome the Liberal Party of Canada into the Fourth International.
Only a charter member of the Tea Party could make a statement like Lee’s. It’s both fanciful and wrong – just like Bill O’Reilly calling Barack Obama a socialist. And I’d bet anything it serves the same ideological agenda.
Lee calls himself a reporter but that paragraph is pure opinion and a pretty radical right one at that.
Time to call bullshit on Lee and the Sun.
Homelessness is a problem in Vancouver. As a sometime pollster I can tell you that Vancouverites generally rank it as one of the most serious problems in Vancouver. to underscore that belief with some facts, Angus Reid published a poll last week with exactly this result.
And Vancouverites don’t believe it’s utopian to want to reduce homelessness. They actually believe it’s eminently doable. And, according to Reid, they want the Mayor and Council to work on that.
And then there’s housing affordability. Has any Vancouverite ever gone to a party where the topic of housing affordability didn’t come up? I don’t think so. Do Vancouverites want something done to make housing more affordable? Yes they do. Is that socialist and utopian? Only in Jeff Lee’s dreams.
And how radical is Robertson’ green agenda. Either Lee is a climate change denier or he believes that trying to do anything about greenhouse gases is a fool’s game. But if that’s where he stands he’s out of touch with most people in the city.
Vancouverites pride themselves on their environment. It’s one of the things that defines the city for them. And they want Vancouver to continue on that path.
Again, not utopian. In fact anyone who’s crossed the Rockies knows that Vancouver is playing catch up to much of the world, both developed and developing.
I’m writing this from a conference in Istanbul. Wandering around the streets yesterday I came across bike lanes and banks of bikes for rent, cheap. One could argue that’s marginally better than Vancouver.
In fact, cities large and small across every continent do housing, homelessness and green better than Vancouver. It’s not utopian. In fact in the context of other cities the Vision agenda is more catch up than radical.
Contrast that with the NPA and Suzanne Anton. Lee, buying the NPA message, describes her as competent, detail oriented and practical. This is pure message, unmatched by the record. After all Anton is the councillor who admits her council didn’t do “due diligence” on the Olympic Village, costing taxpayers up to $200 million.
Or how about the fly by night, bizarrely costed NPA platform? It’s pure spin to call that practical or detail oriented.
Despite what Lee says, the Vision agenda is practical and progressive and eminently doable. Above all, it’s pretty middle of the road.
It’s Lee that’s the radical, as he channels the Tea Party and its friends to write his profiles of Robertson and Anton.
Update: In the 24 hours since I wrote this, the Sun has edited the paragraph above replacing the line “very much with a “build it and they will come” socialist agenda” with the phrase “left-leaning”. Glad someone saw how ridiculous Lee’s characterization was.